Monday, 15 October 2007 04:33

Improve your Brainstorming. Start Eightstorming.

Written by Kishore Dharmarajan
Do you sit down to brainstorm in your workplace to get ideas? Do you throw out suggestions during discussions in the hope that they will trigger ideas that can bring significant benefit to your organization – and to yourself, of course?

You’re using a very traditional approach and it’s time to shift from random and unstructured techniques to an advanced systematic form of brainstorming called eightstorming – eight-step brainstorming. The eight steps go beyond what most people do when they brainstorm in several innovative and highly effective ways 

  1. ASK QUESTIONS. Ask questions for which you have no answers. When you don't have readymade answers, you are forced to leave your comfort zone and bound to stretch your imagination. The better the question you ask, the better your answer will be. 
  2. SEEK INSPIRATION FROM OTHER FIELDS. Move to another industry for inspiration. If you’re in banking, look at scuba diving for ideas. Jot down 5 things that come to your mind when you think of scuba diving. For instance: goggles, floating objects, oxygen tanks, webbed feet and coral reefs. Now find banking ideas that relate to these random inputs.
  3. COMBINE DIVERSE ELEMENTS. All new ideas are combinations of old concepts. Look out for existing ideas in your workplace that you can combine to create a new entity.
  4. TAKE A 180 DEGREE LOOK. When you’re looking for a solution, why not turn a problem around on its head and see what happens. Overturning a situation can lead to more solutions than you had imagined. 
  5. VISUALIZE THE SITUATION. If you have a problem and have difficulty in describing it, why not draw it. Doing simple scribbles can help you turn complex problems into easy to understand situations.
  6. DO RAPID THINKING. If it's difficult to get one idea, try to get ten. Often, the thought of getting ten optional solutions to a problem will lessen the strain you feel in an idea-generating process. Plus the very act of generating multiple solutions in rapid succession will improve your innovative skills.
  7. LEAP OVER THE OBVIOUS. The initial ideas that roll out in any discussion or brainstorming session will often be the weakest. Keep your eyes open for these obvious ideas and use them as a support to move ahead.
  8. USE HUMOUR. Loosen your tie and make a hilarious comment on your current problem. Humor has the power to spark off unexpected ideas and can take you to new creative heights.

In a nutshell, it is quite easy to generate ideas when you have the right tools to do it. Either you innovate or you perish.

Kishore Dharmarajan is the author of Eightstorm: 8-Step Brainstorming for Innovative Managers. Paperback: 112 pages. Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
ISBN-10: 1419668315 ISBN-13: 978-1419668319. Available at Amazon.

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